Ashlyn Judd, Southern Utah University
Abstract Title: Artistic Behaviors and Aggressive Tendencies in Childhood Author: Ashlyn Judd Mentor: Michelle Grimes, Ph.D. Background: Art has been credited with assisting children in strengthening their sense of identity, self-esteem, self-expression, as well as aiding in trauma processing (Hashemian, 2015; Kramer, 1972; Parisian, 2015). Though the theoretical foundation for art therapy as an intervention for aggression has been discussed, little research is available to evaluate this claim. The available data consists primarily of case study methodology. To add to existing knowledge, we employed a correlational study to investigate if there is a relationship between visual arts engagement and aggressive tendencies in children. We hypothesized there would be a negative relationship between artistic involvement and aggressive behavior. Methods: 148 participants completed the study. Inclusion criteria included being the parent of a child between the ages of 4-12. The average age of the participating parent was 35.4 (SD=7.09). The average age of child was 7.5 (SD=2.99). Participants were recruited from the SUU SONA system and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Participants completed a 16 item child aggression questionnaire, as well as a 10 art involvement questionnaire. Both questionnaires were developed specifically for this project. Participants recruited via SONA were compensated by receiving course credit. Participants recruited via Amazon Mechanical Turk were compensated with $0.10. Results: We ran a Pearson’s correlation to explore the relationship between the Art Survey total score (M=28.22, SD=5.74) and the Aggression survey total score (M=26.83, SD=8.59). The results showed a non-significant relationship between these variables r = .080, p = .369. Conclusion: The negative correlation that we predicted was not found. There are a few possibilities to explain this finding. The first is that art and aggression do not have the inverse relationship predicted by the theory. Another possibility may be that the self-report methodology did not accurately measure art, aggression, or both constructs. Further experimental study is needed to address the effectiveness of art therapy with children. Implications and future directions of the research will be discussed further.